FMCA Convention and RV Expo Rally
We belong to many clubs that offer discounts, benefits and community-building events. Family Motorcoach Association (FMCA) is one of the largest clubs and has some great benefits. As full-time and somewhat introverted RVers, we still miss being a part of a community. Exploring another type of rally was a fun way to find a bigger community.
Our first rally (ever) was an FMCA Western Region rally in Indio, California (near Palm Springs) in January of this year. The FMCA International Rally in Gillette, Wyoming was our second. After Bruce’s birthday in July, we drove from Oregon to Wyoming with a few stops along the way.
We were blown away at the number of RVs at this rally (over 1,500). Compared to Indio at over 800 RVs, this was a super-size rally. The advantages of an international rally are all about size – more RVs to show, more trade show booths to explore and bigger names for entertainment. Not to mention, a bigger community. But bigger is not necessarily better. For one thing, the local chapters tend to gather and hang out together at the international rally and we aren’t chapter members. Also, the sheer number of attendees can be an obstacle for us to get to know new people, there seem to be more elevator conversations and less personal conversations.
We ran into our family friends, the Patricks at the Rally. Familiar faces so far from home was a nice surprise. Happy hour, events and dinners are better with friends.
As usual, music is a big draw for us. The Texas-Americana music of Thomas Michael Riley was awesome. My only complaint was that I couldn’t see his face under that big hat!
Excerpt from the Family RV Living Magazine: …..The tagline “Three guys, 30 instruments” only begins to describe New Odyssey’s performance one evening. Particularly impressive was their Beatles medley, which included 10 Beatles tunes in 10 minutes played on those 30 instruments. When performing Earl Scruggs’ bluegrass classic “Foggy Mountain Breakdown,” the trio switched to play each others’ instruments without missing a beat . . . literally. Gillette was one of New Odyssey’s last performances; they plan to wrap up an impressive 40-year run at the end of 2018.
New Odyssey’s drummer donned an electronic drum suit and proceeded to “play” the drums by hitting his chest, arms and legs to make sounds. It was incredible and I never laughed so hard watching a performance of the Beatle’s ‘Sargeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’! Click the picture to see for yourself!
My favorite speaker was author, Craig Johnson. His books were made into the Longmire television series which is now on Netflix. Yes, we did watch the entire Longmire series after that. It was all about murder mystery western-style with way too many murders for that small town setting in Wyoming! It was a little like a western NCIS. The connection to places we have just traveled through made it much more interesting.
We will attend another international rally in the future, but maybe not for a while! In the meantime, we have two smaller rallies on the schedule! Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta and RV NomadFEST. Talk about social butterflies!